I’m semi-borrowing the title from an infamous trilogy of books and movies made from those books. I’ve read the trilogy, avoided the movies. However, that is not what this blog article is about.
Imagine yourself in the studio audience for a talk show where there was to be a special audience give-away. The host asks everyone to stand up. Then the host begins issuing directions to the audience in steps in order to narrow the winning field.
“If you have ever cheated on your taxes, such as including a personal trip as a business expense or even something as small as ‘padding’ the amount of donations of tangible goods you gave, please sit down.” Next is, “If a cashier ever gave you too much change and you didn’t point out the error and give it back, please sit down.” After that comes the instruction, “If you’ve ever been in a waiting room reading an article in one of the magazines provided but didn’t have time to finish it, so you either tore out the article or took the whole magazine with you, please sit down.”
How many people do you think would still be standing? Then the instructions continue with, “If you have ever ‘permanently borrowed’ something from your work place, even as small as a box of paper clips or a roll of tape, please sit down.”
I suspect that would cause quite a few people to return to their seats. Then the host offers this one final instruction: “While you’ve been at work, on the ‘work clock’, if you’ve ever checked your cell phone for personal means, made a personal call or sent/answered a personal text or used either your phone or the company’s computer to look at (and possibly engage in) any of your personal social media sites, please sit down.”
If every person in the audience was being truthful, there would be no one left standing.
What’s my point? My point is each and every one of these acts can be defined as “stealing”. But they seem almost innocuous in harm compared to the criminal and religious sins of the people in the world today, so they become almost acceptable.
Yet right is right and wrong is wrong. Rules are clearly written in “black and white” but over the course of time, so many of them have become shaded in gray. I’ve always tended to see the world in more “black or white”; if something is wrong, it’s simply wrong. I don’t see the degree of wrongness and how something that is less wrong is better than something that it more wrong.
Let me give some examples: Someone is murdered. Is the person who murdered him/her more or less guilty if it was a single shot to the heart versus multiple shots to the body? Is shooting someone more or less wrong than stabbing someone to death?
Someone intentionally cheats on their taxes. Does it matter if it saves them $15 or $15,000?
Someone avows – often quite publicly – that they are a Christian. They attend church regularly, support their church financially and can quote many Bible verses. However, what no one knows that that this same person gets regularly drunk on the weekends and verbally (or worse) abuses their spouse and children. In a conversation recently, I was reminded that Christians are taught to ask for forgiveness and voila, all is forgiven. However, every Saturday night this same sin occurs and every Sunday this person attends church and asks for forgiveness.
I’m afraid I don’t get it. How did Christianity come to the place that it’s okay to commit the same sin as long as forgiveness is asked for each time? How did that come to be acceptable?
The problem with “gray” is that society has come to accept it in others partly because we are guilty of it ourselves. Look at Bill Clinton being able to stand up and not only say, but believe, that he “did not have sex with that woman” because it didn’t involve vaginal penetration. Some agreed – those who wanted to support their President and probably those who were also guilty of the same infraction. Some disagreed – those who disliked the President and were willing to look at any means that would get him out of office.
In a black and white world, you either believe something is wrong or something is not wrong. The alleged sin should have nothing to do with the person’s race, religion, gender or political ideals. But all of those things do get tossed into the mix and what should be black and white becomes gray.
I remember a licensed psychologist who also touted to be a devout Christian had a client who had been found guilty of incest. It was suggested by this psychologist for leniency in punishment because the acts were of digital penetration and not of penal penetration. Go back – read that again. I hope your mind is asking, “What?” I hope you feel indignant that this forced act upon an innocent child should be punished differently because of the way it was performed. Could you look at that child and say, “Well, yes, he hurt you, possibly scarred you for life, but not as much as he could have?”
A crime is a crime is a crime. Infidelity is a bonafide reason, supported by the courts, for divorce. It doesn’t matter what form of sexual misconduct occurred, only that it DID occur.
Cheating on your taxes is illegal. It doesn’t matter HOW MUCH money you cheated for; you cheated and that’s a crime!
Murder is a felony. Again, the courts see this as a crime, regardless of the way the body was murdered.
We are all sinners. Yes, some sins are far more unfavorable than others; there are degrees of sin, I suppose, in that regard. But committing a crime/sin in any degree makes us sinners.
Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” He didn’t specify a sin or to what degree we’d done it…. He simply said those words. And there is no one among us who is, according to those words, able to cast the first stone.
We can’t have it both ways, folks. Our laws are murky enough in their nuances that we can’t allow them to become even murkier with these subtleties.
I know my thoughts on this won’t change a thing. This is my way of speaking out to the people I know who perform these, in their eyes, seemingly ‘negligent’ things while they still parade themselves to be of extremely high morals and Christianity. I am also blessed to know people who truly show their Christianity by their every action. To them, I say “thank you” for showing me what being a Christian truly means.
To those of you who speak your Christianity loudly but so blatantly show us differently by your actions, I say, live your life how you want. Just don’t stand there in your righteousness of persona, as a sinner, and dare to cast the stone at others! Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that you be not judged. Romans 2:1,2 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are that judge: … Romans 14:3,4,10-16 Let not him that eats despise him that eats not; and let not him … 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you,…